By Brady Huggett

Genencor International Inc. has joined up with Dow Corning Corp. to mesh their respective knowledge in biotechnology and silicon chemistry to create a Silicon Biotechnology platform, for which Genencor could receive as much as $35 million.

Any products developed by the companies will be jointly commercialized, and the partners will share profits in some form, perhaps through a joint venture. In the first two years, Midland, Mich.-based Dow will provide $12 million up front, plus research funding. The inclusion of milestones brings the deal to the $35 million valuation. Further financial details were not disclosed.

The Silicon Biotechnology platform is expected to produce biologically mediated organosilicon-based materials for application in diagnostics, biosensors, controlled delivery of active ingredients and personal care products. Materials developed by the companies also may be used to create biochip-based devices with acute recognition and superior signal transduction capability. Other uses may include incorporating technical advances in electronic switching and photonics and enzymatic nanofabrication of inorganic materials.

Silicon Biotechnology combines chemistry and biotechnology to create new materials with enhanced properties including the ability of natural systems to recognize molecules and take action on them in a controlled way.

It is the second significant action of late for Genencor.

Genencor, of Palo Alto, Calif., in August acquired rights to VP22 technology from Phogen Inc., a joint-venture company of Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK. The VP22 technology enables peptides and proteins to spread from cell to cell in the body. Genencor expects to use the technology to improve the efficiency of its vaccines, including vaccines for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus. The agreement is potentially worth more than $21 million to Phogen. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 15, 2001.)

Genencor¿s stock (NASDAQ:GCOR) jumped $1.79 Monday, or about 17 percent, to close at $12.15.